A New Year’s Eve haystack fire on Rancho Road left one firefighter injured and laid waste to multiple tons of hay.
Enterprise and Joseph fire departments answered the call to the blaze at around 11:30 p.m on Monday, Dec. 31 and remained on the scene until 5:30 a.m. the next morning — the next year.
While working to extinguish the blaze, Amanda McHatten of JFD and Chuck Simpson of EFD were hurt by falling hay bales. Simpson suffered the worst of the injuries and the Joseph McHatten helped extricate him from the area. He was taken to Wallowa Memorial Hospital for treatment and examination. Although banged up, his injuries were relatively minor.
The cause of the fire is yet undetermined.
Enterprise Fire Department chief Paul Karvoski said haystack fires can be very difficult to fight. If crews can’t get hold of an excavator, they’re nearly impossible to put out. Local contractor Johnny Gibson, who has an excavating business, brought an excavator to the scene to help pull the bales apart and allow firefighters to access the fire.
Although the blaze consumed a significant amount of hay, firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to an adjacent barn that was also filled with hay.